Matthew Plett is a freelance artist and designer in Fort Wayne—he has also creative a few murals in Downtown Fort Wayne. Like many creatives, he is harnessing his talents to create new artwork during the stay-at-home mandate. He has challenged others to join him and encouraged them to share their work on social media using the hashtag #creative30for30
Matt said, “#creative30for30 came about from a mixture of needing some accountability for my personal creative work at the time, but feeling like doing it together took a lot of the pressure away. Also, and yes I am bragging here, I have a ton of really creative friends and love seeing what they come up with.”
He actually started #creative30for30 in 2015 when he simply needed to make more stuff. He was a stay-at-home dad without many social outlets. He knew habits only start after you do them for a length of time. And the month he decided to begin had 30 days. He invited whoever wanted to participate and they did it.
“It’s probably happened three or four times randomly since then,” he said, “and now we’re in the middle of it again. I really like making stuff, but it’s way more engaging to make stuff and share it with other folks who are making stuff at the same time.”
When asked where he has found inspiration during this time, he said, “Man, these times are crazy. There’s not much else to say about it. I’ve had to step back multiple times from creative thinking altogether because it has been too much. I find some inspiration in just a deep-seeded hope that I can’t really explain. We see the essential worker risking everything and some people for the first time truly realizing that ‘oh wow, we REALLY ARE all connected, huh?!’ We’re hurting in ways we didn’t know we could even 30 days ago. We’re lonely and connected at the same time. Thinking about how every person in the entire world is relating to a single thing in an unprecedentedly connected way is astounding. The person on the other side of the globe and the person walking their dog on the sidewalk by your apartment are dealing with the exact same physical thing and something about that is extremely remarkable to me.”
He says it doesn’t always make sense, but he inspired by so many things. #creative30for30 has him that not every project needs the same level of inspiration. Too much pressure on making the perfect piece can really be the worst feeling for an artist.
“I don’t always have this light come down and rest on my soul and feel inspired,” he explained. “A lot of my inspiration comes from doing a ton of dumb little things that either add up to something bigger or just get me ready for the next step.
“Inspiration comes and goes but the craft is always available to be worked on.
Inspiration is great, but when I don’t have it, I still have to make something and trust. Sometimes you find something that lights you up right away and sometimes you dig for days and never find something you’re satisfied with.”
The piece he created during this challenge that he likes the most is a collage with different vintage nature cutouts.
“If you’ve done a creative challenge, I’m guessing there are a few days of the 30 when you’re like me where it’s 9pm and the kids just got to bed or you’re tired from the day and you’re like, ‘ugh, I still have to make something tonight,’” he said. “That was one of those nights where I was like, let’s just do this little thing for 20 minutes and be done. But then I ended up really liking how it was going and worked on it for a few hours.”
Matt firmly believes that art can break barriers, heal, uplift, and challenge humans unlike other things.
“Good art can show us our similarities and challenge injustice at the same time,” he explained. “Or good art can just heal you during a process of creating. Art can heal physically by the creative people sewing masks right now or making bread to take to a lonely neighbor. By poetry that can expose hurt you hadn’t ever dealt with to painting a bunch of lines on a wall and having someone tell you it changed their lives. Art is something else. Make some. Buy some. Experience some.”
Mariah Knight, an artist who is participating in the #creative30for30 challenge, said her favorite piece during this challenge so far was the study that she did of one of her house plants.
“It was very relaxing to do something that was more illustrative than design, which is what I do full-time for work,” she said. “I also used a different program and process than I normally would, so I learned a few things while making it. Having a reason to experiment is always nice.”
She admits that creating during this pandemic is very emotionally loaded for her.
“Creating work anytime takes a lot of energy, but now specifically, it has been hard to do,” she said. “I have been spending most of my time working on more personal, small things, that you could say are about self-care more than art like cooking healthy meals, preparing for our garden, and repotting plants.”
If you’d like to check out some of the art being created, check out #creative30for30 on Instagram and Facebook.